Adbusters – Black Flag Journalism at Its Best

“We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century” Abusters magazine, 2008.


Above is the “About” statement issued by Adbusters magazine on their website.


The whole tone of Adbusters reminds me of a young Anarchist friend who was hell bent on standing on what he saw as being the front line, facing the cops, everyone masked, fighting the system, chasing down the “G8”, foiling the capitalist carnival . He was an unworldly chap yet chock full with drive to question everything. I wondered where his ambition would get him. He now DJ’s in the clubs of Newcastle (UK) spinning dirty hardcore rave, chewing on cheap, low grade disco biscuits, a hip star amongst his peers, Ritchie Vicious, oh what did they do to you, out there on that frontline?.


It would never be fair to chastise the good folk of Adbusters for anything they do here. Their black flag journalism has its heart in the right place. Bringing awareness to global issues and rising solutions from its readers is an applaudable step in the right direction.


I become cautious though when I get the slight scent of patchouli in the air. I am reminded of a mix of tumbling resolution and the naïve dreams of a lay about generation that sold its beliefs for a fist full of Lebanese Hash. The fight was never in the fields it was always at the heart of our societies, in the council buildings of our towns and the parliaments of our cities and there it remains, effervescing, waiting for us to arrive.


I read an article (Strike, Collapse, Rethink) on Adbusters, a call for a “Consumption Strike”.


“To join the General Consumption Strike is easy: spend less, live more. Consider doing without your high-speed internet, cell phone service, beer or wine, restaurants, gasoline, new clothes, fancy electronics and tourism. Think of the money you will save, the fewer hours you’ll need to work, and the more time you’ll have to live.”


This is what the article encourages.


I am dumbfounded by what this article is trying to inspire in its readers. This call to strike can do nothing more than harm. Our society is not a rolling shopping trolley that you can simply push into the aisle before storming away in a huff to go sit in the grass, dressed in tattered cloth, hungry, without connection to reality. No, no, no, let us not go back there. This is a foolish idea.


I find it hard to take an article like this serious when the author opts to use Helvetica font, one of the few fonts that are not offered free of charge, a font relished by the advertising world, one that has, by some, been considered the “Capitalist” font of our time.


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